By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHARLOTTESVILLE — One grew up 15 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, the other about 20 from the Atlantic.
As recently as two months ago, some 2,700 miles separated the Californian, London Perrantes, and the Virginian, Devon Hall. Then, in early June, they were thrown together at UVa, where they share a dorm room.
This East-West pairing is working out well, right?
“No, I don’t like this guy,” Perrantes said recently at John Paul Jones Arena, nodding at the other member of the Virginia men’s basketball team’s first-year class.
Hall laughed. He knew Perrantes, a 6-2, 184-pound guard from Los Angeles, was kidding. Hall, a 6-5, 212-pound guard from Virginia Beach, and Perrantes have formed a strong friendship since joining the Cavaliers’ program. Their games aren’t all that similar — Perrantes is a more proficient scorer than Hall, who’s an exceptional passer — but they have much in common.
“They’re both humble guys,” Mark Hall said. “They both want to win, and they’re both working hard to achieve that goal.”
Mark, 11 months older than brother Devon, is a redshirt freshman linebacker on Virginia’s football team. When Devon, who attended Cape Henry Collegiate, committed to the Cavaliers in June 2012, nobody was happier than Mark, an outstanding hoops player himself at Virginia Beach’s Green Run High.
“Who wouldn’t want his brother at school with him?” Mark said. “I get down, he helps me up. He gets down, I help him up.”
A natural mentor for Devon, who was a regular at UVa’s home football games in 2012, Mark also is filling that role for Perrantes. All three are taking the same sociology class in summer school.
“I think of London like a brother, too,” Mark said. “That’s tough, to come all the way from the West Coast and be alone. We know he lives far away, and if he wants, he can come home with us to Virginia Beach on the weekends.”
Devon committed to Virginia in late June 2012. At the time, the Wahoos seemed unlikely to add a second point guard in their 2013-14 recruiting class, but the more head coach Tony Bennett and his assistants evaluated Perrantes, the more they thought he would complement Hall well.
Nothing since then has changed the coaches’ minds about the newest Cavaliers.
“They look to be very poised, and they let the game come,” Bennett said. “They’re unselfish, and I like their feel for the game.”
About a month after Hall committed, Perrantes took an official visit to Virginia with his family. He’d been looking to play his college ball on this side of the country and loved what he found at UVa.
“I think the conferences and the basketball out here are definitely a lot better than on the West Coast,” said Perrantes, a graduate of Crespi Carmelite High in Encino, Calif.
Hall and his parents, Mark and Leslie, were in Charlottesville for the football team’s 2012 opener during Perrantes’ visit, and the Halls encouraged Perrantes to become a ‘Hoo. Neither player saw the other as a threat.
“There’s nothing wrong with having two [point] guards on the floor,” Devon said.
Virginia’s No. 1 point guard for most of the past three seasons, Jontel Evans, graduated in May. The leading candidate to replace Evans is redshirt sophomore Malcolm Brogdon, who missed last season with a foot injury, and the `Hoos also return sophomore Teven Jones, who started nine games in 2012-13 while Evans was injured. But Perrantes and Hall are likely to play important roles this season, too.
“I think they’re going to help us, and then they’re great for the future of the program, too,” senior swingman Joe Harris said recently. “You can just tell they’re both going to be really good. They can play with each other, too, even though they’re both listed as point guards.”
UVa’s associate head coach, Ritchie McKay, said Perrantes is “going to be exactly what we’re looking for. Will he be an All-ACC or elite point guard? I’m not sure. I think that depends on how many games we win and how quickly he’s able to adapt to this level. But in terms of intelligence, feel, likeability by teammates and leadership, he’s got all that.”
Hall, McKay said, is “athletic, he’s got size, he’s got strength, he can use both hands, and he’s very well-liked by teammates. London is more of a true point, but both have pass-first mentalities.”
McKay said he sees some John Stockton in Perrantes, in that “London is not flashy. He makes the open shot. He puts the ball where it’s supposed to be. He knows who he’s passing to.”
Stockton, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, excelled at using ball screens and played with exceptional patience. “I’m telling you, London has some of that,” McKay said. “He has no idea yet how hard it’s going to be at this level, but you kind of like that.”
Perrantes, whose family lives in the Woodland Hills section of L.A., has been taken aback at times this summer by the Central Virginia humidity. He misses In-N-Out Burger and touts the virtues of California in debates with Hall, who likes to talk up the 7-5-7. But Perrantes said he’s not homesick.
“I like it here,” he said, even if his schedule has been taxing.
“It’s basketball and school, basically,” Perrantes said, “coming from class to the gym, practices and lifting. That’s basically our routine every day until the weekend, and then on the weekend we get our sleep in.”
TICKET INFORMATION: Season tickets for UVa’s 2013-14 home games will go on sale Monday at 9 a.m. The Cavaliers’ schedule includes 17 games at John Paul Jones Arena. Season tickets will be available at four price levels.
In ACC play, UVa will meet Boston College, Florida State, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest at JPJ this season.
Other home games of note will include a date with VCU and a Dec. 4 clash with Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Cavaliers went 20-2 at JPJ in 2012-13.
The ACC will release Virginia’s complete non-conference schedule, along with the dates and times of conference games, in late August or early September.
For more information or, starting Monday, to purchase season tickets, contact the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 800-542-8821. Starting Monday, tickets can also be purchased on-line at VirginiaSports.com or in-person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium.